View Full Version : Very first build (Advice needed)

12-04-2010, 06:55 PM
I am working on my very first "ground up" instrument build. 7 weeks ago I was a college student with a crazy idea and now I'm really close to wrapping this thing up. I met a woodworker who had no prior knowledge of instruments, and yet he decided to help me get through this thing. The two hurdles that scared me most about the project were side bending and neck carving. As of today, with the carving of the neck, both hurdles are now past tense. I did a lot of research on the project and went with Pete Howlett's neck carving technique. I made 2 curves first, the heel side and just under the peg head, with a rasp and then connected the two with a spokeshave. The only thing that bothers me is the fact that it didn't turn out as straight as I had hoped. I had reference lines but it is still a little crooked. The question I have is whether or not this will affect the playability or intonation of the uke. I sure hope not. Thanks for reading.

mm stan
12-05-2010, 05:01 AM
Aloha Ucityuker,
Nice job, your first uke??? wow awesome dude....thanks for sharing!! Keep us updated on your progress...MM Stan

12-05-2010, 05:36 AM
looks great- took on a dove tail joint on your first uke even! I'm not sure about the "didn't come out as straight" reference. As long as the line from the center of the nut through the center of the neck at the body and then through the center of the tail end of the body is straight then it should play just fine. If the sides of the neck are a bit of then it might feel uneven when you are working up and down the neck but it shouldn't effect anything with the intonation. If your neck alignment is a bit off and you can't or on't want to correct it than adjust your saddle position to center on the "new" centerline from the nut and down the neck. Take all this with a grain of salt as I am just an amateur at this.

12-05-2010, 06:23 AM
I've made three "ground up" ukes, and mine are all more crooked than that.

Each is playable, though I might have to stand a bit crooked.

12-05-2010, 09:08 AM
Don't know what it is that is Crooked from your description. Is it the back of the neck profile? Or is it the heel? Neither of these are going to affect intonation. Playability....who knows. Depends on how crooked and how particular you are. Most people adapt pretty quickly, so I doubt you'll even notice the feel.

12-05-2010, 08:25 PM
Thanks guys. I guess "crooked" wasn't the best word choice. Maybe asymmetrical?? The center line is fine but if you look just under the peghead you will notice that one side looks different than the other. I guess I'm just having a first time builders panic attack. HA! Just want it to be perfect, but I already know that it won't. One can always hope, I guess. My wood working buddy gave me some sound advice when he said, "don't expect perfection...just expect them to get better every time". Thanks for all the responses. I shall post more pics when its done.

12-05-2010, 08:34 PM
If your centerline is good then you're fine. The part of the neck you'll be holding looks pretty good in the photo. Just stop looking at both sides at the same time. If anyone asks just say its an experimental design
Nice looking uke by the way

Koa Soprano
12-06-2010, 02:49 PM
If you are worried about the asymmetry in picture #3 this is why I have always profiled my fingerboards and glued them on before any neck shaping. The fingerboard acts as a guide for the widths at the nut and body joining ends, and all the way inbetween.

12-06-2010, 10:15 PM
Thanks for all the help. I'll remember to install the fingerboard first next time. I thought about it this time but talked myself out of it with the "what if I mess it up" mindset. And I like the experimental design idea. :) I'll keep that in mind. Thanks again. You all have been most helpful.

12-07-2010, 04:33 PM
Reminds me of one of my favorite sayings.

I don't make mistakes, I do variations.

Beautiful looking uke, can't wait to see it finished.